It’s the last week of Van Doesburg and the International Avant-Garde: Constructing a New World at Tate Modern and so we’ve been looking back over the show before it leaves us. Since van Doesburg had a hand in or link to so many seminal movements of the early-twentieth-century (De Stijl, Dada, Constructivism, the Bauhaus), his influence has a contemporary reach, not only in visual art but in the wider visual field, including typography, design and architecture.
- Could Daniel Libeskind have made his extension to the Denver Art Museum without the Rietveld Schroeder House?
- How much does the art direction of Tron owe to De Stijl?
- How would Ceefax have looked without van Doesburg’s typography designs?
Reviews of the exhibition have focused on this influence on our contemporary visual world. Charles Darwent in the Independent on Sunday said:
“…the extraordinary impact Van Doesburg had on European art in the 1920s … was all to do with boundary-crossing and line-blurring, things so revolutionary that they still resonate today.”.
while Simon Mawer in the The Guardian commented:
“Painter, poet, critic, architect, of all the dimensions of his short life the most important one was … the influence that he had among the avant-garde of the 1920s, an artistic movement that has shaped our own world.”
Even Alastair Sooke in the Telegraph, who didn’t much like van Doesburg’s austerity, recognised his impact:
“Moreover, the influence of De Stijl on a number of disciplines, including film, architecture, design, and even typography is painstakingly spelled out.”
Van Doesburg is clearly a giant of design, but who is your design hero? Who has influenced your design practice or work? Who do you think has made the most impact on your visual world? Do you look back to one of van Doesburg’s contacts or rivals? Who working today do you think will be the van Doesburg of the 21st Century?